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Hot weather creates cashew shortage   2010-05-10 - Viet Nam News

The 2010 cashew crop has fallen by about 52,500 tonnes, or 15 per cent, compared to last year, facing cashew processors with a shortage of nuts.

Nearly 80 per cent of cashew acreage has already been harvested, yielding only 297,500 tonnes, according to Viet Nam Cashew Association general secretary Dang Hoang Giang, who blamed prolonged hot weather during the period when the cashew trees were in flower, resulting in a lower nut yield.

Viet Nam has become the world’s largest exporter of cashews but consistently must import large volumes of nuts since local farmers can only meet an average of about 60 per cent of domestic demand, according to the association.

With this year’s low domestic crop yield, the association has forecast that processors would have to import about 300,000 tonnes of raw cashews, 50,000 tonnes more than in 2009.

The nation imports raw cashews from Cambodia, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Guinea and Ghana. Orders of 20,000 tonnes were being shipped from the Ivory Coast alone.

The association has also forecast that export prices for cashew nuts will continue to rise over the next two or three months, perhaps even hitting US$5,250 per tonne, due to rising demand in major export markets in the US and Europe. Early this month, cashew exports were fetching $5,213 per tonne, $780 more than in the same period last year.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam exported 41,000 tonnes of cashews in the first four months of this year, earning nearly $212 million, a decline of 7.7 per cent in volume but an increase of 9 per cent in export value.

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